...and I am Against The Wall because disengagement rarely, if ever, helps to resolve issues.
I have experienced the vitriolic sting of racial division and mistrust, as well as the profound richness of unity and inclusion. Life has not produced a tidy and linear journey from the former to the latter. Much rather, it has been a mixed bag — some good here and some bad there, progression and regression, volatility at its finest.
Race relations in the Adventist Church and America at large have, at times, been downright toxic. This divide fuels my vacillating feelings between skepticism and hope.
I am Skeptical because our church and country often willingly neglects to embody their respective ideals:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” —Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, 1776
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." —The Pledge of Allegiance, 1971
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” —Galatians 3:28
All are not treated equally. All are not liberated. All do not receive justice. All are not included. Therefore, there is work to do.
World history details human proficiency in cultivating dissonance. Often times race, nationality, religious affiliation, gender, age, socioeconomic standing, political affiliation, and innumerable other classifications are utilized to create secure walls between people.
However, I remain Hopeful because there are movements, such as this one, that encourage much needed dialogue and action. For me, Against The Wall is not merely a tribalistic exercise in “us” versus “them.” It is a much deeper and more challenging endeavor — one that considers gray areas and complex issues, but is unflinching in its resolve to create strong bridges en route to reconciliation across racial and ethnic lines.
Being Against the Wall is my conscious effort to combat the stranglehold disengagement has on the church, our country, and world as it relates to issues of racial separation. It is my desire to approach this noble venture with humility, compassion and purpose.